CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Isaiah Williams has been the go-to receiver for Illinois the past two years, a team captain last fall, but this spring the Illinois fifth-year senior is working on finding his voice. Williams has tried to let his play do the talking but now he’s ready to take a bigger leadership role not only in the wideout room but in the offense as a whole.

“Making sure those guys hear my voice, when something’s not right, they know,” Williams said. “I feel like the last few years I’ve tried to lead by example and I feel like that was decent but now it’s time to be more of a vocal leader. That’s one of my biggest goals and this year I really want to focus on fulfilling the people around me needs. When my brothers need something, I want to be that leader, the guy they look up to.”

Williams caught 82 passes for 715 yards last season, the most for an Illini receiver since Geronimo Allison in 2015. After transitioning from quarterback to wideout, Williams has shined and will lead a deeper group on the field this fall. Williams, Pat Bryant and Casey Washington are three out of the top four receivers from last year’s team who return.

Most of the headlines in spring ball will focus around the quarterback. There will be a new guy under center for the Illini, with transfers Luke Altmyer (Ole Miss) and walk-on John Paddock (Ball State) competing for QB1 along with redshirt freshman Donovan Leary and true freshman Cal Swanson, who is an early enrollee.